Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱
unmute
#004

Caroline Bixner

Product Designer

Hey! I’m Caroline, a product designer in Amsterdam. I recently switched career paths and am loving it! I'm a huge fan of skiing and cooking and can’t wait to travel again.
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Where are you based as a UX/UI designer?

I am based in the Netherlands, and currently living in Amsterdam.

What led you into UX/UI design?

During my studies I became very much interested in the digital world. After completing my second masters at the University of Sydney, focussing on Digital Transformation & Innovation. I started working at a bank in Digital Transformation. However, I felt like I missed something and after three years I left my job and did the Web Development Bootcamp by Le Wagon to add hard skills to my profile. Here I fell in love with Product and UX and realised I also missed the creative aspect within my work. After completing the bootcamp I started working as a Frontend Developer and Product Designer at Worksuite, a Dutch startup based in Amsterdam. But my true passion lies with product design and therefore I am now a full time Product Designer, but still the coding knowledge comes in handy from time to time.

Why are you a UX/UI designer?

Because I love how with UX and UI everything I learned over the years comes together: digital strategy, product, agile way of working, a human centered approach and creativity. When I was younger I used to love drawing, painting and all sorts of creative things. During my time in university I kind of forgot about that and I rediscovered my creative side whilst doing Le Wagon and an introduction course in Web Design. I noticed how much I enjoyed thinking strategically in brainstorm sessions how to improve or launch a product, but I am now also able to dig into my creative skills when I am designing the product. For me it is the perfect combination and I am very happy I made this career switch.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Days that I go to the office I bike to work, which is a nice way to wake up (if it's not raining ;)). At the office I usually have my breakfast at my desk, we only have a morning standup meeting on Mondays with the whole team. During the week it depends on my workload if I have a lot of meetings or not.

When the weather is nice we will go outside to grab lunch, it's nice to get some fresh air and stretch our legs for a bit. I love to get a soup a this place, Soup enzo. Our office is located in the city center, so there are lot of nice places to go to. But this is one of my favourites.

After lunch I usually try to switch up my work activities. We are currently launching a new feature with work, so my afternoons at the moment are filled with wire-framing and prototyping.  I like to do my brainstorming and sketching in the morning when my mind is still fresh. If I need a little pick me up in the afternoon this is my go to coffee place in the city center: Sue. They have lots of yummy (sugar free) treats and you usually get a tiny one with your coffee. Gets me through the rest of the day!

In the evenings I will either do a workout or I will meet up with friends for dinner. But I also enjoy a quiet night at home, preferably reading a book and getting some time away from laptop screens. But as now the weather is getting warmer and it stays light outside for longer, a nice evening walk can also be a great end of my day.

What is your current desk setup?

I either work at the office or at home. Here some snapshots of my various desk set-ups

And your Workstation setup across devices?

Most of of my work I do on my laptop, so I don't use my phone much for work things.

What work are you most proud of?

I think for now I am the most proud of my first work that was ever developed and launched. It was the new marketing website for Worksuite, the start-up that I work for. I started working here in October 2020 and my first task was to redesign the website. We redefined our storyline, product and style and in December 2020 we went live with a completely new website. It was really cool to see my own work go live for the first time, check it out if you want: www.worksuite.nl

Which Product recently blew your socks off?

During the Memorisely bootcamp we had the pleasure to work with the product Anyone. This app was mentioned as one of the 19 Media Startups to watch in 2021 alongside Substack & Clubhouse. Anyone gives a user the opportunity to call 'anyone' for advice on certain topics, however these 'anyones' are people with lots of experience and knowledge. I believe this is a great idea, because you could get really valuable advice over a short phone call. Especially nice in these times during which we were 'locked up' at home due to the pandemic.

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What challenges do you face as a UX/UI Designer?

Being relatively new in this field and not having a senior at work can be challenging at times, as sometimes I get stuck with my work. But there is a great online design community out there where I can ask questions or ask for feedback on my work. But also the office hours during the bootcamp were of great value to me. Zander and the other students were always willing to help me. On the other hand the responsibility and freedom I get in my work by being the only product designer in the company is also super rewarding and I learn a lot from it. Luckily, we have a great team and I can always brainstorm with them what to do next with our designs. But I think it is important as product designer to keep reading and stay up to date with the latest trends. Doing part-time courses next to my job has definitely helped me to develop my skills further, currently I am studying Design Systems with Memorisely, which is a new topic to me and I am super excited about it!

What tunes do you listen to whilst designing?

Every year I start building a new list and this is my 2021 playlist:

Three suggestions for budding designers?

  1. Before starting out as a designer, I started an UX instagram account. Not so much to show my own work but the follow all of these amazing accounts out there. A lot of them share great content and through this I started to familiarise myself with design content. I wanted to keep my personal instagram and UX account separate, so that the algorithm would only show me design content.
  2. Start reading books on UX and Design. A great book to start with is "Don't make me think by Steve Krug". It really describes the basics for web-development and design in a fun and engaging manner, for me it was a great introduction into good UX.
  3. But also very important is reach out to others, experienced and less experienced people. Ask questions and ask for tips and feedback. You will be amazed how much you can learn from others and to be inspired. The Memorisely tribe slack is a great place to do so and then finally I also highly recommend the bootcamps by Memorisely. I am truly so happy that I switched to the UX/UI Bootcamp from Memorisely instead of doing one of the 'bigger ones'. It was such a great learning experience!

Thanks for reading my story!

Amsterdam, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Caroline Bixner

Product Designer

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